mon coeur de campagne

living a simpler, rural French life


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Bon 1er mai!

Happy May Day!

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May Day started with a friend wishing me a Bon 1er mai and sending a Lily of the Valley posy.

The tradition started on May 1st 1561 when King Charles IX of France offered the ladies of the court a sprig of Lily of the Valley or Muguet as a lucky charm.  Over the years it has evolved into a way of showing friendship.  The florists and markets are full of Lily of the Valley in the lead up to the 01 May.  The local Prefrecture had to issue a warning this year not to pick too many from the woods.

The sunshine, bird song and wild flowers mean that spring is finally here.  The dark nights are over and there is a feeling of celebration in the air.  The long holiday weekend also celebrates the Fete du Travail.

spinning wheel

We spent a sunny afternoon with friends showing us how to spin and weave.  Spinning has been used for thousands of years as a way of producing yarn.  Charlotte enjoyed using a Spinning Wheel using wool from local sheep, a method in use for centuries since the Middle Ages.  She might be taking up spinning as a new hobby and wants to make a rug using wool she has spun herself.  A good start to the month.

 

 

 


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Blue Monday

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Blue Monday?  Today is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year.

It’s all white here!!!


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Verre de L’amitié

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Last night, the Mayor invited everyone in our commune to toast the New Year with a verre de l’amitié, a glass of friendship.  We made it through the snow thanks to a lift from friends with winter tyres on their car.  The snow was so pretty and the Christmas lights in the centre of the village made it look very festive.

It was nice to see so many people there from our small community.  The Mayor welcomed and thanked everyone who had managed to get there.  He then thanked everyone who works or volunteers for the village, the school, the library and various associations.   He outlined what work had been done around the commune and plans for the coming year.  There was a poignant moment when he asked us to remember everyone who had been touched by terrorism and for those that had passed away.

The champagne was flowing but as we are having a dry January we politely declined.  A first for both of us!  Despite lots of attempts to fill my glass I managed to stick to orange juice until the Mayor handed me a glass of champagne – it would have been rude to say no!  I discreetly passed it to a neighbour who was more than happy to drink it for me.

For a small commune of around 200 people we are an international and friendly bunch made up of mostly French, a couple of Dutch (the numbers of Dutch increases in the summer!!), an English family (us), a German couple, a Texan and a South African.

We thanked the Mayor and asked if he could organise more evenings like this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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A close call

  
Freezing fog, snow, frost and icy roads. We are in the grip of winter.  Our region, La Nievre has been on alert for bad weather this weekend and we’ve been advised not to drive unless you have to.

The snow has been melting and we went to see friends 10 minutes drive away and the roads were clear. On the way back I suggested driving back a different route and on the hill up to our house the road was unbelievably slippery. Our tyres couldn’t get a grip and I had a flash back to my car crash. Very scarey!

A wolf has been spotted not far away! An animal has been attacking sheep and a very wolf-like animal has been caught on camera.  The authorities are taking the threat seriously and are investigating.

So maybe it isn’t so bad staying close to home and hibernating!


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La Brame de Cerf

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La brame de cerf.  Photo credit: S.Guillerault

 

Le premier jour d’automne, the first day of autumn and it’s sunny and glorious.  The days are getting shorter and as twilight falls,  a guttural, roaring can be heard from the heart of the forest.  It is the cerf, the stag, the “King of the Forest” challenging his rivals.

If you are lucky you might hear la brame du cerf as you drive along in the twilight near Forest Bertranges, near Moulins Engilbert .  Look out for groups of people huddled along the side of the road waiting and then suddenly someone gets a tip off and everyone jumps into their cars to get nearer the sound.

Or wrap up warm, take a torch and join a guided tour into the woods where you will be sure to hear la brame du cerf and enjoy an apero too.

It is an unforgettable experience to hear the primeval sounds of this magnificent beast.

Click here for tour details: http://www.nievre-tourisme.com/agenda/soiree-brame-du-cerf-a-la-lanterne-fmabou058v501xjc/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Portes Ouvertes

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Art and history – my bliss!  This weekend the privately owned 15th century, Chateau de Thard opened it’s doors as part of Les Journèes Europeènes du Patrimoine.

The heritage weekend takes place the third weekend of September across France.  Each year there is a theme and this year’s was Patrimoine et citoyennetè.   Public offices, monuments, historical sites, churches and chateaux open their doors to the public for a visit behind the scenes.

Chateau de Thard, a joli petit manoir, near Onlay proved to be a hidden treasure.  We drove up a long drive hidden in the woods, which opened out to amazing views high above Onlay.

The Chateau was also a perfect backdrop for an art exhibition featuring a variety of pottery, sculpture, oils, watercolours, prints and collages.

  
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http://www.chateaudethard.com


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PianO du Lac

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Playing a piano on water, floating under the stars with nature providing a breath-taking backdrop, le piano du lac is a transhumance flottante across France.

3 months and 60 concerts from July to October, the piano, pianists, singers and musicians – one wearing a bespoke dinner jacket styled from a wetsuit playing the tuba underwater – are performing a mesmerising spectacle from the Alps to Paris and the south of France.

We watched the concert at the Lac de Panneciere in Le Morvan, Bourgogne-Franche-Comte enjoying a picnic and listening to the magical sounds of the piano drifting across the water.

It was a very hot day and we needed a swim before the concert. We changed on the beach and my glamorous friend Stef, donned dangly earrings and a long dress  – you would never have guessed we had come straight from the beach.

We found a nice spot and set up the picnic, a feast of local ham, olives, salad, baguette and Brie, washed down with a chilled Crement de  Bourgogne.

When the concert finished, the audience were invited up to play.  We listened to a fabulous mix of classic music, rock n roll and pop as the night enveloped us and the stars twinkled in the sky.

It was an unforgettable way to spend a summer’s evening.

http://www.pianodulac.fr

 

 

 

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